Are Any of These Things Not Like the Others?

Opening to a Washington Post op-ed today by former Bush Jr. speechwriter Michael Gerson:

The left has a political interest in defining the broad backlash against expanded government as identical to the worst elements of the Tea Party movement -- birthers and Birchers, militias and nativists, racists and conspiracy theorists, acolytes of Ron Paul, Tom Tancredo and Lyndon LaRouche.

Gerson expands:

[T]here are others, new to political engagement, who have found paranoia and anger intoxicating. They watch Glenn Beck rail against the omnipresent threat of Saul Alinsky, read Ayn Rand's elevation of egotism and contempt for the weak, listen to Ron Paul attacking the Federal Reserve cabal, and suddenly their resentments become ordered into a theory. Such theories, in politics, can act like a drug, causing addiction, euphoria and psychedelic departures from reality. [...]

Eventually, these theories require repudiation or else they can taint a political movement -- like a little red dye turns a container of water pink. This is precisely what William F. Buckley did in the 1950s and '60s, repudiating Rand and Robert Welch of the John Birch Society, thereby creating a legitimate conservatism that could elect candidates such as Ronald Reagan.

A similar effort will be required today of conservative political and intellectual leaders. It will not be easy.

Comments?

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  • z||

    Gerson worked for that small government guy, G.W. Bush?

  • PIRS||

    +1

  • Steve Chaos||

    Have I ever mentioned how much Gerson makes me want to vomit? I propose marketing his columns as a cheaper emetic.

  • Xeones||

    Shut the fuck up, Michael Gerson.

  • ||

    What is that old saying "even paranoids have enemies"? Well sometimes there really is a cabal. I wouldn't call the fed quite a cabal. But the fact is that a group of well connected super rich bankers have managed to loot the American public of well over a trillion dollars. I don't think being angry about that can fairly be described as paranoid.

  • Mike||

    A paranoid is the guy with all the facts.

  • ||

    no, no, john, it's not a fact. That's just opinion dressed up in rhetoric. They didn't loot the american public, they *inflated* it away. OK? It's far more morally acceptable to inflate it than to hold a gun up to someone's head and take it from them point blank.

  • Matt C||

    STFU pretty much sums it up.

  • ||

    Leaps and bounds...Leaps or bounds...Leaps and no bounds.

    Common Sense

  • ||

    +1 for wordplay

  • Bob #2||

    Republicrats of every shade on the spectrum love power over other people. They just argue endlessly over the specifics. Of course someone like Ron Paul, or any who thought he'd have been better than the other garbage offered, is anathema to their philosophy.

    In conclusion, shut the fuck up Lonew... err... Michael Gerson:. Sorry. Force of habit.

  • Brett L||

    Seems like the kind of guy who drives through the 'hood on his way to the Country Club for the smug sense of self-righteous superiority. I hope incumbents in Congress will employ people like Gerson in their re-election campaigns. My first rule of politics is when the opposition is spouting nonsense, get them a bigger microphone.

  • jj||

    "My first rule of politics is when the opposition is spouting nonsense, get them a bigger microphone."

    I like that!

  • ||

    It really isn't red team versus blue team or R versus D anymore. It is the smug, worthless assholes like Gerson who make up the Washington establishment and everyone else.

  • Mike M.||

    I think you're right to a large extent. These guys truly believe they're the smartest people on earth, but they're piloting America right into the side of a mountain, and all the smug arrogance and condescension they can muster in the world can no longer disguise that from the people.

  • ||

    O Rly, John? So why the fuck do you still play the game? I'll believe that you believe this when you stop living TEAM RED TEAM BLUE. Seriously, I'd be thrilled if you did. But you're going to have to give up some knee-jerk reactions to do so.

  • ||

    Fuck off. I rip on Republicans all the time. I just support the war. And you people can't get over that. And think that it means that I think Trent Lott was a great Senator and Medicare Part D was a good idea. At what point do your percepts stop being totally governed by your opinion of the Iraq war, which practically over anyway.

  • ||

    What about your support of Palin, John? You don't support her because you like her; you support her because Democrats hate her. Which means you're still playing TEAM RED TEAM BLUE.

    John, you're close. You're almost there. Just hate the Republicans as much as you hate the Democrats, and you'll have done it.

  • ||

    I support Palin because I do like her. And I dislike not just the Democrats who hate her but the dickless Republicans like George Will who hate her. The Republican establishment loathes Palin. It is the rank and file who like her, not the establishment.

    Further, I fail to see how liking Palin is any sort of a sin? I have said I would vote for her for President. I have always said I liked her and think she is a good politician, which she is by any objective measure.

    More than anything, the reason why I am willing to go to such lengths to defend her, where I wouldn't with other politicians, is that I absolutely loath the smug, if you are not part of Washington and didn't play the game and kiss ass as we tell you to, you can't be an important person attitude that dominates the criticism of her.

  • ||

    Correction. I have never said I would vote for her for President. I am still agnostic on that.

    More than anything it is just fun to defend Palin. Nothing pisses off smug posers more than doing that.

  • ||

    And one other thing. I defend Palin because I don't let you or anyone else tell me who is smart and who is dumb or what politician it is acceptable to defend and like. Fuck the mob.

  • ||

    Exactly, John. You defend Palin because you have a stick up your ass about "elitists" slagging her. She's a proxy for your own identity. I don't believe for one second that you actually give two shits about Sarah Palin; what you care about is that she represents you, as far as you are concerned, and attacks on her are attacks on you.

    Lose the "us vs them" bullshit. Lose the "elitists vs down home folks" bullshit. It's all collectivist identity politics, and that leads to partisanship. It stupid, and it makes you stupid. Do you want to be joe? Or joe's mirror image? because that's what collectivist partisanship leads to.

  • ||

    I will defend Palin until she does something to piss me off. Until that time, I am not going to let the pathetic name calling and "don't you want to look smart" bullshit affect my opinion.

    And further, I am nothing like Palin. I have private education and about five degrees. But of course I could never get up and give a speech to millions or manage to write a book that sells God knows how many copies. She is nothing like me and I am nothing like her. But I know unfairness and bullshit when I see it. And all of the venom directed at her is just that.

    You make yourself look stupid and insecure by mindlessly attacking her. She is a politician for Christ's sake. Is she any better or worse than John Edwards or Al Gore? Or John McCain? I don't see how. Yet, people spend endless amounts of time and effort convincing themselves that she is somehow different and worse. The whole thing is pathetic.

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    "and about five degrees" - I assume that non of those degrees are in counting.

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    none*

  • ||

    One of my degrees is from the US Army. I don't really count that one. It is a "degree" and it took a year to get. But there is something about a degree issued from the Army that makes it seem kind of shady. The other four are legit. That one, I am not so sure. Thus the "about five".

  • liberty_equality_solidarity||

    fair enough

  • ||

    "One of my degrees is from the US Army. I don't really count that one. It is a "degree" and it took a year to get."

    Command and Staff School?

  • MNG||

    "I am nothing like Palin. I have private education and about five degrees."

    Palin has one degree from five places...

  • ||

    You say that like it is a bad thing. So what? She didn't have a rich mommy and daddy to pay for college. That is just the kind of petty bourgeois bullshit that drives me crazy.

  • MNG||

    I think if Palin were my neighbor I would be a total dick to hold her lack of accomplishments, educational or otherwise, against her. She's not retarded or something (that kind of thing skips a generation). But when a person runs for national office I think one can question her credentials without being an elitist...

  • ||

    I think you can to, but I also think you should hold her to the same standard you hold other people. John Edwards is hardly a Rhoades scholar and no one said he was unqualified to be VP. And don't tell me for a moment that Al Gore would have sniffed Harvard had he not been the idiot son of a Senator.

    And further, I think you have to judge people by their ideas. I frankly don't really care about someone's paper resume. Hell Woodrow Wilson and Herbert Hoover probably had the best resumes of any President not named Eisenhower. And they didn't turn out so well. I care about what their ideas are and what I think they would actually do in office. If you don't like Palin's ideas, fine. You should say why you think her ideas are bad. But none of that has anything to do with what college she went to.

    And further, neither one of us could afford to live in Palin's neighborhood. The woman is madly smart and successful. It astounds me how shroud she has been in managing her image and using all of the vitriol against her to her advantage. It is no accident she didn't go off into the oblivion after the 2008 campaign.

    She reminds me a lot of Hillary Clinton. All my friends on the right used to talk about what a joke she was and how she married into her job and could never be a serious politician. And I never agreed with them. Hillary is beloved among a lot of people. If it were so damned easy to turn being first lady into a Senator seat and a very serious run at the Presidency, someone else would have done it. Palin is the same way. Love her or hate her, she is beloved by a lot of people. And if it so damned easy to get elected governor, and turn a loosing VP run into a being one of the most powerful political figures in the country, more people would do it.

  • MNG||

    Palin having money and being smart are two different things. Neither of us could live in Britney Spears neihborhood too John.

    John Edwards had a pretty successful law career. Other than getting elected Palin has virtually no accomplishments.

  • ||

    I would say that Briney Spears, while not my cup of tea artistically, has some musical talent or she wouldn't have managed to sell so many records.

    Moreover, you dodge the point. The point is that it takes a tremendous amount of political savvy to turn the lemons she was given last fall into the lemonade she has this fall. You can scream about how stupid she is all you want. But, you cannot deny her effectiveness as a political figure. Given that success, claims about her intelligence seem pretty meaningless. If she is so dumb, why does she do so well? This is not music where it is just a matter of taste. This is politics where the scoreboard of public opinion and ability to attract followers are actual objective measures of success.

  • Sean W. Malone||

    "has some musical talent or she wouldn't have managed to sell so many records."

    As the resident professional musician & LA entertainment industry guy...

    No.

    What she has/had is the ability to entertain a specific audience - in this case about 20 million pre-teens. And for a while she had the ability to look sweet & innocent in the eyes of parents (how she managed that given her actual activities is beyond me, but... still true).

    As a result, she obtained a huge cadre of people who were willing to help her sell that brand, and in the process made millions.

    What she doesn't have is legitimate musical ability. She never did...

    Being cute, photogenic, and easily molded by everyone from her Dad, to Disney to Jive Records into a brand that appealed to border-line deaf girls is different.

  • ||

    Actually, before her fall from grace Britney Spears had one of the smartest quotes I've ever heard. I think it was an interview with Barbara Walters - she asked Britney about the perceptions of her intelligence - Britney responded that her brother made fun of her all the time because she didn't know who the Secretary of State was or other political facts. She responded that "while you were in school learning all this stuff I was too busy earning a hundred million dollars." Kinda put it all in perspective for me.

  • prolefeed||

    If you don't like Palin's ideas, fine. You should say why you think her ideas are bad.

    She supported the fucking bailouts.

    That isn't just bad, that is "never, ever get my vote bad".

  • ||

    I would be a total dick to hold her lack of accomplishments, educational or otherwise, against her.

    Particularly because her accomplishments exceed yours so vastly.

    -jcr

  • peter||

    Have I ever mentioned how much Gerson makes me want to vomit? I propose marketing his columns as a cheaper emetic.

    Peter

  • ||

    Lose the "us vs them" bullshit

    You mean like "Libertarians vs Statists"?

    How does this work? I either respond to every single situation as "they are all the same 'Republicrats'" or it is Red Team/Blue Team?

    But Browne Team vs Red Team/Blue Team is ?

  • ||

    +1

  • Brad Potts||

    Libertarians vs Statists is even a pointless dichotomy, cause no one is a complete libertarian or complete statist.

    It is a battle of attitudes that is being fought, and not a single one of us solely represents either side.

    So yes, lose the "us vs. them" bullshit.

    As far as I am concerned, Palin is a prime player in the current justification of the state, and therefore is a negative factor.

  • ||

    Libertarians vs Statists is even a pointless dichotomy, cause no one is a complete libertarian or complete statist.

    It is a battle of attitudes that is being fought, and not a single one of us solely represents either side.

    So yes, lose the "us vs. them" bullshit.

    As far as I am concerned, Palin is a prime player in the current justification of the state, and therefore is a negative factor.
    reply to this

    You admit that no one is a complete anything, with which I agree. You then,correctly, say it is a battle of ideas. It really can't be a battle without, you know, sides; otherwise it is agreement.

    In your very post you place Palin and her supporters as "a negative factor" don't you? Is this losing the "us vs them bullshit"? Except where there is universal agreement there is always a form of "us vs them". Other than coerced conformity, what else is possible?

  • ||

    Yesterday's John vs MNG battle was partisan hackery in it's purest form, arguing just because they will never agree with the opposing jersey.

    The fact that they fought each other without anyone else, like say a libertarian, piping in for at least 20 long comments without saying anything different is evidence enough.

  • ||

    You just don't read my posts. I agree with the Dems. Go find a post on here where I say Obama was wrong to stay in Iraq or don't give him the benefit of the doubt on Afghanistan? Go find a post on here where I defend the police kicking down people's doors with SWAT teams. Go find a post where I defend the drug war.

    You won't find any. You just don't pay attention and think that anyone who disagrees with you must be a hack.

  • prolefeed||

    I frequently disagree with John. But, I will grant that he seems sincere about his beliefs, which makes him NOT a partisan hack like joe was.

  • ||

    The irony is that the thread you are referring to involved child support. And my position was that the laws and the case was the result of an alliance from hell between feminists and pro family conservatives. I was arguing that the Right was wrong the very thread you are point to.

    And the double irony is, that in this thread I am saying a former Bush speech writer is an asshole. But I am just a blue or red team hack whatever the color is.

    I mean serious. Read the fucking posts and pay some attention or shut the fuck up.

  • MNG||

    John
    I think Epi was trying to say that "elitists v. God-fearing honest Real Americans" is just as silly and tired as Red v. Blue...

  • ||

    And I think EPI doesn't know his ass from a whole in the ground about what I actually think. And further I think anyone who doesn't realize how decadent and incompetent our political and cultural elite in this country is, is not paying attention.

    I would love nothing better than to find a politician who would take up the cause of small government and the like who was a Rhoades scholar and President of Princeton. But sadly, people who fit that description almost to a man have utterly discredited and nonsensical political opinions. So, what are we to do?

  • MNG||

    I think you're wrong. I'm not sure Palin has substantively any opinions different from, say, Ivy League educated Bobby Jindal.

    And you're wrong on Epi. Epi's crazy on politics and women, but that dude's a cultural lexicon...

  • ||

    I didn't say he was stupid. I said he doesn't know what I actually think. Sadly, my thinking is not yet part of the cultural Lexicon.

    And Jindal is a Rhoades scholar and a smart guy. And from all accounts a pretty good governor. He also has about all of the charisma and charm of a wet noodle. His response to the 09 SOTU was pathetic. Palin may not have a Rhoades scholarship, but I guarantee you she would have given a hundred times better response. I honestly don't think Jindal will ever make a serious run at being President.

  • freeforall232||

    Is it just me or is it weird when John curses?

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    I disagree with that. Elitists from both wings of the Brand X Party duopoly versus the rest of us - that's exactly how it's being played, and we don't have enough armed civilians to fix the problem.

  • ||

    I read the whole conversation. My point was not which position on the child support issue you were defending or attacking, but that the two of you went back and forth repeating yourselves for 20 posts because you both wouldn't stop defending a position even when you had both already made your only points. You had to get into semantics after a while about what you said, what you meant, what he said, what he meant because you would not stop.

    With anyone else, neither of you would have gone on so long. You would have said "See above, dumbass." But you both know which "team" the other guy is on and wouldn't let it go for that reason.

  • ||

    The fact that MNG kept ignoring my point is highly annoying. The fact that I continued to make the effort to explain them to him, does not make me some kind partisan. Obsessive maybe but not a partisan.

  • MNG||

    The fact that you're point was wrong was another matter...

  • prolefeed||

    John -- people will gather on Teh Intertubes who are wrong, and who will not cease believing in their errors no matter what they say. So, refute them once and go to the next topic.

  • ||

    I suspect that John's uncritical support of Palin is more a reaction to Andrew Sullivan's dislike for Palin than the Democrats' dislike for Palin.

    Which is even sillier.

  • ||

    I suspect you don't know shit and pretend you do. Which is very silly.

  • ||

    Before the loony thread in all these disparate groups can be repudiated, they have to be unified.

    They need a common enemy like Goldwater and Reagan had in the Soviet Union, and I think they need a villain to unify them at home too, like Goldwater and Reagan had in the New Deal and the Great Society.

    Islamists could be that thing beyond our borders, if anyone cared to define us against that rather than trying to make us emulate them, and Obamacare and his attempts to use the government to solve climate change, etc., could be the catalyst for a unified opposition at home...

    It's just that Obama doesn't present much of a threat, really. He seems to be something of a lame duck already, doesn't seem to have gotten anything he wanted...he's certainly not the threat the New Deal or the Great Society were.

    So color me pessimistic in terms of political opposition. There's still reason to hope the tea party people can transmit their values through the culture, though. This cycle hasn't played itself out yet--the state's are hurting badly and will probably try to protect their obesity with taxes...anything to protect government jobs, right?

    So, maybe we shouldn't be looking for a Ronald Reagan or a Goldwater to unify the movement yet. Maybe we should be looking for a Howard Jarvis? ...someone nearer to the ground.

    I was a fan. I liked his sailing books. But the movement needs another Buckley like it needs another hole in the head.

  • Zeb||

    Who is trying to make us emulate Islamists?

  • ||

    George Bush and the people who truly loved him.

    We've tortured people, in part, because of the way they treat their enemies. How many times have you heard torture apologists say things like, "Well you should see how they treat their enemies!" as if emulating our enemies was a justification in itself.

    ...not to mention wanting to ban everything from Gay Marriage to abortion and then putting creationism and prayer into public schools, just like our Islamist enemies would do.

    The same thing happened during the Cold War. There were those who thought we should be more like the socialists, and lifted programs straight from the American communist party's platform, actually, and then there were those like Goldwater and Reagan who tried to define what we were in opposition to communism.

    It happened in ancient Athens, there were those like Socrates, who wanted to emulate the Spartans, and then there were those who wanted to define themselves in opposition to the Spartans. ...it happens to abused children, they're drawn to either emulate that abusive behavior or define themselves in opposition to it.

    We should work on defining ourselves in opposition to radical Islamists. I don't suppose that's controversial; it's the part about mimicking Islamists that I guess gets people going. But if that's what we're doing, that's what we're doing.

  • yojimbo||

    I think we should torture the shit out of them. Give them a reason to be affraid of us. We should ignore the rules of war as well.

  • ||

    That may make sense, somehow, but if it does, then it should also make sense to leave some people behind.

    Kerry Howley was right.

    I mean, you want to terrorize the terrorists? At least you're clear on the emulation thing. I just want to defeat them.

    ...at home, abroad, Muslim or otherwise. I want terrorism on the ash heap of history where it belongs.

  • ||

    They have an enemy; the establishment.

  • PIRS||

    I will take "acolytes of Ron Paul" for $500 Alex.

  • libertarian bitch patrol||

    "There's still reason to hope the tea party people can transmit their values through the culture, though." What are they transmitting? Love of parading in costumes and paranoia?

  • ||

    Distrust of government.

    ...even the birthers and truthers are useful idiots that way.

  • Kolohe||

    On the contrary good sir, they are actively harmful in that cause.
    c.f. pre-adolecent males who raise alarm for canis lupis

  • PIRS||

    I agree. I would put the 9/11 Truth people in the same category.

    By the way, for those of you in Rio Linda, pre-adolecent males who raise alarm for canis lupis means "boys who cry wolf."

  • Kolohe||

    They should also know it's lupus with a u, which gives lie to the phrase 'it's never lupus'

  • ||

    "On the contrary good sir, they are actively harmful in that cause.
    c.f. pre-adolecent males who raise alarm for canis lupis"

    For one, they reach an audience that isn't about to be persuaded by anything reasonable you or I say. ...and those people really do need to be reached.

    And, second, the wolf is real, and he's always out there doing something.

    I think the issue for a lot of people is that they don't know the government's a wolf. And truther/birther kind of stuff at least addresses that...

    I'm not cheerleading either one, mind you, I'm just callin' it like I see it.

  • Mad Max||

    It certainly would be nice if the conservative movement repudiated extremists who would hijack the movement for their own, non-conservative purposes.

    Wilsonian idealists, big spenders, high taxers I agree with Gerson that conservatives should distance themselves from such extremists.

    I mean, that's what Gerson is referring to, right?

  • MNG||

    "It certainly would be nice if the conservative movement repudiated extremists"

    Like conservative Catholics who would love to impose Catholic dogma on the nation?

  • ||

    Like conservative Catholics who would love to impose Catholic dogma on the nation?

    What specific dogma are Catholics trying to impose on the nation? Abortion doesn't count since it is hardly exclusive to Catholicism. Perhaps it is their endorsement of universal healthcare that you find so objectionable. I know I do.

  • MNG||

    I mean like Max who has exalted the old Hollywood Code and other shenanigans.

  • ||

    I mean like Max who has exalted the old Hollywood Code and other shenanigans.

    The Hollywood Code ended over 45 years ago. Anything a little more contemporary?

  • Butts Wagner||

    Correct me if I'm wrong MNG, but lol.

  • RCTL||

    "Perhaps it is their endorsement of universal healthcare that you find so objectionable." Universal healthcare, Catholic schools and their stance on illegal immigration are really the most positive aspects of Catholicism.

  • Mad Max||

    MNG - I have received a report that you were seen eating a hamburger on a Friday.

    Please turn yourself in at once to the Federal Bureau of Fasting. If you cooperate with them, I'm sure they'll let you off with a small fine and a public penance.

  • the wind||

    Mad Max, are you having Minority Report moment? It starts Friday.

  • ||

    You still pay attention to what's going on in California, don't you Welch?

    How many times have you heard recently that the problem in California is that the legislature needs a super-majority to raise taxes?

    How many times have you heard that the problem is that Prop 13 won't let the government raise property taxes?

    I think they'd do anything, including raise the hell out of taxes, rather than cut their bloated government payroll. ...and economic reality may make them have to choose.

    There's more than one third rail in politics, but they're not all so clearly marked. ...but if they raise taxes high enough, if they go one toke over that line, that's your catalyst for change, right there.

  • Matt Welch||

    Yes, 100, 1,000.

  • Tsu Dho Nihm||

    Gerson's little article is more of the "vote Republican" crap I've been hearing directed at libertarians for decades.

  • Ziggy||

    "read Ayn Rand's elevation of egotism and contempt for the weak, listen to Ron Paul attacking the Federal Reserve cabal, and suddenly their resentments become ordered into a theory. Such theories, in politics, can act like a drug, causing addiction, euphoria and psychedelic departures from reality. "
    hmm, I wonder how he would describe the neocon movement and his presidents paranoia feeding regime...

    "This is precisely what William F. Buckley did in the 1950s and '60s, repudiating Rand and Robert Welch of the John Birch Society, thereby creating a legitimate conservatism that could elect candidates such as Ronald Reagan."
    yeah, legitimate conservatism like GWB!

    I just see a lot of anger towards those who called out the GWB regime and his fellow neocons...

  • ||

    At the time Buckley was throwing the Birchers under the bus, and to a lesser extent the Randians with them, he was an apologist for Southern segregationists. Wouldn't a conservative movement with less connection to racism and maintaining its non-interventionism have been a stronger movement? Would it not have still included Reagan and Goldwater? Would it have excluded Gerson and Bush, and wouldn't that have been a good thing?

    Why would anyone take advice from the Bush camp on anything, ever?

  • ||

    Didn't Goldwater vote against the Civil Rights Act? How is WFB anymore of an apologist for segregation than Goldwater was? Moreover, half the Randians and all of the paleocons on here will gladly spend column inch after column inch talking about how Lincoln destroyed the Republic and the 1960s Civil Rights legislation was unconstitutional.

  • Kolohe||

    How is WFB anymore of an apologist for segregation than Goldwater was?

    You've never read National Review columns from the fifties have you?
    Goldwater's position was based on federalism, but Buckley's, or at least in his publication, was based on perceived inferiorities in non-whites and the South was just doing what it had to do because of how people lived down there. (in contrast with the North, which was 'naturally' segregated)

  • ||

    I would like to see some links and quotes on that. I never once heard WFB say that blacks are inferior.

  • Kolohe||

    http://delong.typepad.com/egre.....roots.html

    The central question that emerges . . . is whether the White community in the South is entitled to take such measures as are necessary to prevail, politically and culturally, in areas in which it does not prevail numerically? The sobering answer is Yes – the White community is so entitled because, for the time being, it is the advanced race. It is not easy, and it is unpleasant, to adduce statistics evidencing the cultural superiority of White over Negro: but it is a fact that obtrudes, one that cannot be hidden by ever-so-busy egalitarians and anthropologists.
  • ||

    I had never read that. Buckley really was an asshole back in the day. Goes to show, never trust New England WASPS.

    Thanks for the link.

  • ||

    Nice stereotyping, dickhead.

    Just one thing: Buckley was a Catholic.

  • ||

    Subtle irony there, if intended.

  • EJ||

    ironically this argument is not a whole lot different than the early 20th century progressives who though science proved the superiority if whites

  • ||

    And really isn't that much different than modern day progressives arguing for affirmative action. Both agree that blacks are inferior and can't compete. They just disagree on the remedy.

  • MNG||

    Thinking someone disadvantaged does not equal thinking them inferior John.

    I oppose affirmative action for the record, collected signatures for Ward Connerly's outfit in three states in the 90s.

  • ||

    No, believing that one race is always disadvantaged no matter what any individuals circumstances are is believing that race to be inferior. The day liberals admit that upper and middle class black kids don't need affirmative action and poor whit kids do, is the day I will buy that they are not just 21st Century white supremacists.

  • EJ||

    Goldwater voted against it on Federalism grounds. He was not a segregationalist at all. When he founded the Arizona Air National Guard in the early 40s, he made it a desegregated service (when most of the military was segregated). He desegrigated his family's business in the 1930's. And he had a famous line talking to conservatives "leave the gays, the negros and the mexicans alone." This guy was supporting civil rights when the average democrat was still wearing a sheet on his head. He just strongly believed in limiting federal power and he though the civil rights act was unconstitutional.

  • ||

    I know he wasn't a segregationist. I just didn't know that WFB really was.

  • T||

    An erudite asshole?

  • Jim||

    Because the Birchers were strong opponents of southern segregationists?

  • Mad Max||

    A summary of the Gerson article from those who don't want to read the whole thing:

    'These evil extremists are insinuating themselves into the conservative movement. They are wicked people, or else they are delusional and paranoid.

    'And worst of all, they demonize their opponents!'

  • Mad Max||

    *for* those who don't want to read the whole thing.

  • Maverick||

    Gerson must not sense which direction the prevailing political winds are blowing. Maybe Democrats will listen to him--such advice as he's dispensing would be comforting to them.

  • Alan Vanneman||

    Ayn Rand is totally like weed, man! Totally!

    Actually, as a Democrat, I'm totally enjoying this food fight. If only I could get the ketchup and lemon meringue pie out of my ear from a discussion on health care policy with the fucking retards at TNR.

  • ||

    Vanneman, I always knew you were the kind of classless monkey who would eat pie with ketchup, but thanks for confirming it. Now go review Going Ape! and fetch me a chicken pot pie. With ketchup.

  • alan||

    as a Democrat,

    Ah, that explains it.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    The only reason this "food fight" is so pervasive is because your team is already irrelevant and is going to take a wholesale drubbing this year (and in two years). I might be gloating (a little), but only because I will enjoy the delicious tears of young teenage girls (and their imitators) who worshiped the President and witnessed the fall of their idol.

  • MNG||

    I doubt the Democrats will be "irrelevant" but they are going to get a whooping this Novemeber from the looks of things.

  • robc||

    There is still plenty of time for the GOP to blow it. Especially if they do everything in their power to keep libertarians from the polls (which Gerson is doing a damn good job of).

  • alan||

    Comments?

    Big government, compassionate conservatism, in spite of a brief moment where it strutted the stage as the prettiest of Winminster's hounds, groomed in no small part by a kennel caretaker named bin Ladin, has become the most short sighted, back asswards movement in our current times.

    It had the audacity to think it could outspend liberals, out compassionate liberals, out bureaucratize than liberals, out regulate than liberals. and for two terms, they did.

    Given their excesses, they should have seen it coming as clearly as Faust knew the Blessed Fallen Angel was just around the corner, but, by some unfathomable lack of awareness, the leading apostles like Gerson are punch drunk and have no clue what hit them. The very small Bush faction still out there, though still getting some glumly maintained sympathy from the MSM is even more irrelevant than the Birthers.

    Poor Weekly Standard acolytes, trying to matter in a world that can ill afford their price tag, and wishing there was some Achilles WFB, who among his mythical feats made Rand and Rothbard irrelevant, to carry them forward.

    I could give some sympathy, but then they lash out at their betters, and indeed even LaRouche, whatever crazies his people may be, did not create the harm in the world that Bush's people did, are their betters, indeed the Ron Paul's people, and perhaps even the kids falling out of the short bus with Obama placards are their betters. The John Birchers who may have carried anti-Communism a little to far, but at least Welch warned of quagmire while National Review cheer lead us into the swamp, they too are the MSM Conservative's betters.

    Gerson, do you really want everybody to hate you? Perhaps, you feel so badly about the trouble you helped to cause in the world, that you are lashing out at everyone, in hopes that there will be show trials for the war crimes of your comrades, and a wall for you to hang your blind folded head while bidding us adieu. Sorry, you wont get the easy way out. A life disgraced is what awaits you.

  • ||

    Just because the crazies never got any power or responsibility and thus never did any damage doesn't make them any less crazy.

  • robc||

    The crazies got power in 2000.

  • Jim||

    So true, everyone criticizes when they don't have power. It's so easy to do.

    What matters isn't what people say, but what they do when they have the reins of power.

  • ||

    The problem is - the Gersons and Big-Government "ConservativeS" are probably going to win over the grass-roots. It's difficult to break through such a strongly consolidated, self-confident, and unified (on the core things) Establishment.

  • ||

    Such theories, in politics, can act like a drug, causing addiction, euphoria and psychedelic departures from reality.

    You mean, like the time from 2000 through 2008?

    The next time someone suggests that working with Republicans will be different this time, I'll be pointing them right to this limp dick's column.

  • Marc||

    On the contrary, we need to repudiate the theory behind conservatism.

    If there were one, I mean.

  • ||

    It was Gerson's boy George W. Bush that helped turn the GOP from "legitimate conservatism" into a bible thumping, warmongering, spending spree. So pardon my skepticism of his view of "legitimate" conservatism.

  • ||

    Anyone who was associated with the GWB administration should have their proclamations subject to severe scrutiny.

    Also, Gerson is a professional sophist.

    Some portion of the blood of thousands is on his hands.

    Every decent person looks forward to his demise.

  • ||

    Anyone who was associated with the GWB administration should have their proclamations subject to severe scrutiny.

    I'll go with outright rejection, thanks.

    -jcr

  • ||

    Gerson is from a Bizarro world.

    You will have much success in life and politics if you just do the exact opposite of what he suggests.

  • ||

    Maybe in Bizarro World. In our real world and times, people like Gerson go right to the top, which says a lot about why we are in so much trouble.

  • ||

    I would have to agree, they do indeed raise some very valid points. Well done.

    Jess
    www.anonymous-tools.se.tc

  • ||

    I just support the war.

    Well, knock it the fuck off.

  • MNG||

    I read Gerson's comments to be more political than ethical, he argues that nuttier elements need to be elemented from conservatism so conservatism will be more acceptable to a wider audience and elect people. WFB used to talk about the duty to support "the most electable conservative" or something like that.

  • ||

    Pretty much, but the question is "who are the nuts?". The problem is not that he wants the nuts purged. The problem is that he doesn't seem to have a good grasp of just who the nuts are. I really don't think, in the aftermath of TARP and the financial crisis, you can equate the people who want to eliminate the Fed with the birthers. Maybe they are wrong to want to kill the Fed. But it is pretty clear what we are doing right now isn't the right way. And I think it is a serious position to maintain the Fed is part of the problem.

  • MNG||

    I think anti-TARP anger is the norm right now, but getting rid of the Fed is pretty radical (not sure radical=nuts though). Our whole economy is based around it now, it would be massively dislocating to upend that...

    As a liberal I for one am sick and tired of the attempt to dismiss Tea Partiers as "angry" (abolitionists were "angry" too, so were the people who marched for civil rights) or nuts. They are people who think things like TARP and Obamacare are nuts, and those two things can be seen as undefensible by a rational person. And since both of those things are massive it's proper to be angry about them if you oppose them. WTF?

    The thing for liberals to do is to repudiate TARP and exalt the handful of liberals who said it was a terrible idea (as TAO and others pointed out when it went down liberals should have opposed a bail-out of humongous corporations, I mean WTF).

  • ||

    I don't think we should get rid of the fed. I just don't think saying we should is a crazy argument. I don't agree with it. But I don't think it is crazy.

    And yes, liberals should have stood up to TARP. Or they should have at least demanded concessions. They should have demanded a repeal of the 07 Bankruptcy reform act. Think about it. We fucked every average person who couldn't pay their debts and make bankruptcy much harder. And then two years later we gave the banks trillions of dollars. It was just disgraceful.

  • ||

    Sure, escept as "nuttier elements" he throws in Ayn Rand and Ron Paul.

    I'm not exactly sure how wanting to audit the Federal Reserve should be regarded as prima facie absurd. Or egoism in general for that matter. Rand has a lot of value to offer people, which is why she remains enduringly popular.

    Dismissing all Ayn Rand devotees are nutty extremists who must be eliminated would alienate quite a lot of individuals who aren't particularly nutty art all.

  • Some dude||

    Eventually, these theories require repudiation...

    Yes, please repudiate the theory that we don't need a Federal Reserve.

  • ||

    "Such theories Incumbency, in politics, can act like a drug, causing addiction, euphoria and psychedelic departures from reality. [...]"

  • ||

    So much win.

  • ||

    Instead of being a crime, I think incumbency should be taxed and regulated.

  • creech||

    The "Mount Vernon Statement" boys purged the libertarians from the conservative movement in 1969. Should
    have purged the neo-cons and Gerson-types instead.

  • John Mackey Greene||

    I think you're right to a large extent. These guys truly believe they're the smartest people on earth, but they're piloting America right into the side of a mountain, and all the smug arrogance and condescension they can muster in the world can no longer disguise that from the people.

    I harp on this all the time - the skills required for getting into elected office have nothing to do with one's qualifications or knowledge of the issues at hand. It just means that politicians are really good at pandering to the right group of people, pissing off fewer people than your opponent, and kissing babies.

    And yet, our corrupt national government has grown powerful enough to where these pricks are masters of the universe when they get into office and they start looking for problems to solve in areas that they have no business touching or even thinking about.

    I'm not speaking out against politicians, I'm speaking out against the system that gives them so much power in the first place. The Founders, for the most part, didn't intend it this way, yet incrementally step by step we've screwed up the legacy they gave us and are now knee deep in leviathan manure.

  • Mike M.||

    I harp on this all the time - the skills required for getting into elected office have nothing to do with one's qualifications or knowledge of the issues at hand. It just means that politicians are really good at pandering to the right group of people, pissing off fewer people than your opponent, and kissing babies.

    Agreed. I would go so far as to say that, with a few very rare exceptions, modern politics in America attracts second-rate intellects, and has for some time.

    The true geniuses in America are the guys who create things that people like and want and make a shitload of money doing it, or know how to allocate their capital in those people. People like Gates, Buffett, Jobs, etc.

    Most politicians today have never even run a lemonade stand, so it's no wonder things are so screwed up.

  • John Mackey Greene||

    Actually that's a very good point.

    It's no wonder that most politicians come out of office with more money than they had going in (or at least it only takes them a couple of years after leaving office to get there). Being a politician is all they can do - if they could actually earn money, they would have done it before ever going into politics in the first place.

  • John Mackey Greene||

    With the obvious few exceptions of the Bloomberg and Corzine types who make money before going in... but then those guys turn out to be horrible politicians and end up proving the theory in reverse, anyway.

  • ||

    People like Gates, Buffett, Jobs, etc.

    Yes, but note that when such people make pronouncements on public policies they're almost invaribly full of shit.

    The "Bloomberg and Corzine types" provide even more evidence that there is no correlation between the skillsets required for business or for politics.

  • ||

    with a few very rare exceptions, modern politics in America attracts second-rate intellects,

    I forget who said it first, but politics is the easiest way to gain prestige without merit.

    -jcr

  • Slut Bunwalla||

    Politicians don't kiss babies anymore, since the FDA found that being kissed by a politician as an infant often leads to mental retardation, cancer, and other maladies in later years.

  • ||

    It's pretty simple. You need your rabble rousers to stir things up, who have a big impact, but aren't usually going to win any popularity contests, i.e., elections. And you need your conciliators to bring people together and agree on the structure and values for moving forward. It's hard to find indiviuals who have the requisite qualities to play both roles well.

    The person who played the dual role the best in our lifetime was Ronald Reagan. Absent a wise and experienced leader like that, it is best that the conciliators and rabble rousers learn how to not trip each other up, as opposed to getting into an us vs. them argument, sniping at each other.

  • ||

    Neocon dribble.

  • ||

    I think you meant to say drivel. Typically, I define drivel as the stuff the surrounds the word "neocon" in a typical web posting.

  • Sean Scallon||

    Comments? What are the writers at Reason so afraid of Michael Gerson that they can't spot garbage when it is right in front of their faces? They want the rest us to do it for them?

    Did it ever occur to the Gersons of the world that maybe such undercurrents exist in our body politics because they themselves stirred them up? Of course not, because they loath to admit that what they were part of failed governments is what caused the mess that has subsequently stirred up the public.

    Mr. Gerson is typical of his species, the Beltway elitist and know-it-all who jumped from an Administration at 23 percent in the polls when it left to a cushy columnist job at the Washington Post. An in this incestuous town that does nothing more than rob the taxpayer to pay the banker, Gerson has gall to lecture the public on avoiding all the "crazies" out there (Say isn't that an upcoming movie?), including Ron Paul, who his eyes is nothing more than another Robert Welch.

    Are Gersons words that of wisdom from humbled from such a failed presidency as Bush II? No they are the words of just another Centrist just looking to hold on to what they have, their sinecures of power and their chance to hold high government office once again.

    No, we do not need lectures from failures to tell us how to avoid failure because lecturer cannot admits to his own failures. So he lumps Ron Paul into an unsavory crowd to distract attention from himself. Typical.

    The real crazies it seems to me, were the ones who thought they could spend phoney money on war and public largess and get the Chinese to pay for it indefinitely.

  • ||

    Right on.

    Gerson's circling the D.C. wagon.

  • ||

    Comments? What are the writers at Reason so afraid of Michael Gerson that they can't spot garbage when it is right in front of their faces?


    I dunno. It seems to me like Matt was just throwing raw meat into the tiger cage and then getting out as soon as possible.

  • Fluffy||

    I'm a little late to this party, but I guess I need to crank up the organ and get the monkey dancing on the Fluffy Memory Project once again:

    Everyone, please try to remember in the future, when this guy is on the staff of someone pretending to be a limited-government conservative Presidential candidate, that as far as he is concerned believing in capitalism is THE SAME AS being a racist.

    As far as he is concerned, there is no difference between Ron Paul and Lyndon Larouche. Review Ron Paul's congressional voting record, and remember that this is what Michael Gerson thinks is synonymous with the Larouche movement.

    Never forget. Ever.

    And John, Sarah Palin embraced the entire Bush record and has never repudiated it. So going to the mat for Palin over and over means that it's NOT just about the war. You carry the burden of every element of the Bush record for as long as you keep your little corner shrine to Palin operational. [Unless she makes some kind of Khruschev speech, which I really doubt will happen.]

  • ||

    show me where Palin ever specifically embraced medicare part D or the Bush deficits or anything else about Bush other than his handling of the war?

    Again Fluffy, get some help. The war was really bad for you. PTSD is a terrible thing.

  • Fluffy||

    McCain and Palin ran on the Bush record, John.

    Are you sitting there today and denying that they ran on the Bush record? And that they lavished praise on the Bush presidency?

    If you want to deny it and send me on a link hunt, I guess that's your prerogative. But if you force me to wade through the 2 zillion Palin and McCain links from 2008 to find quotes for you, be warned that I will stalk you with them forever to punish you.

  • Hacha Cha||

    "Such theories, in politics, can act like a drug, causing addiction, euphoria and psychedelic departures from reality."
    then why the hell am I still using real drugs?

  • Marc||

    Eventually, these theories require repudiation

    Allow me to go Randian for a moment:

    By whom and for what? Blank out.

    Have fun playing king of the hill on the ash heap of history, Mr. Gerson.

  • Ray Pew||

    Such rhetoric should not be shocking. People like Gerson derive their careers from politics and it is in there self-interest to see their "side" in power.

    To make the machine "well-oiled", they must remove all who don't tow the Party line. Nothing worse than to think your ranks are large, then find out many don't agree with you, but simply share a common enemy.

  • ||

    Michael Gerson is the epitome of a self-righteous turd.

  • mjdaniels||

    So let me get this straight . . . Gerson is basically saying, "Hey, Repubs! There's this large voting bloc that agrees with us on several issues, and with the other guys on several others. When we're working together with them, we win. When we alienate them, we lose. Got that? Ok, good . . . now, what you need to do to be successful at this politics thing is to go over there, right now, and spit directly in their faces!"

    If that sounds as nutty to you as it does to me, that's probably because you're paying attention - unlike Gerson, who, if he'd ever READ any Rand, would realize that she has no problem at all with "the weak," (just take a look at some of her characters like Eddie Willers and Cheryl Brooks - weak characters she paints in a very sympathetic light). Her contempt, on the other hand, is reserved for those who are CONTENT to be weak, despite their capacity for strength, in order to parasitically prey on those stronger than they are.

    But then, I wouldn't expect someone who made a name for himself putting words into W's mouth to understand a subtle distinction like that . . .

  • The Libertarian Guy||

    Epi, the "elitists vs down home folks" argument is how things are - it's high-powered, self-important busybodies with Rs and Ds after their names *versus* us regular folk. They hand down rules they don't follow, yet expect us to lap up like a kitten takes to a saucer of milk.

    They have power to wield over us, when it is supposed to be they who are OUR servants. Public servants. That used to mean something, goddamnit.

    And some of the fools thought it would turn around, if we had only put Old Man McCain in office. It is to laugh, comrades! I slap my knee!

    Well, fuck all that... until we take those bastards in DC down a few ladder rungs, it will continue to be them vs. us for a long time to come.

  • ||

    Public servants. That used to mean something, goddamnit.

    When was that? Some time in the 1850s, perhaps?

    -jcr

  • Howard Gibson||

    Gerson is actually attacking Larouche and his influence, with the other names put in as cover. Gerson should know about conspiracy, he was in the WHIG (White House Iraq Group) and along with Britain's Tony Blair telling the world that Iraq's Saddam Hussein could nuke London in 45 minutes. Yeah, and Elvis is still around.

  • wizard of oz books||

    With many new announcement about the wizard of oz movies in the news, you might want to consider starting to obtain wizard of oz books

  • دردشة يمنية||

  • دردشة||

    thanks

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